Ladies Day At The Gerry Weber Open - UBITENNIS
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Ladies Day At The Gerry Weber Open

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Dominic Thiem (zimbio.com)

By Cheryl Jones
Wednesday was Ladies Day at the Gerry Weber Open. Between matches, it means that the lines in the women’s loo are long, though. The honored fans wait each year for that special day and the air is bursting with anticipation, tinged with perfume and most of all, excitement.
For the players, the day is merely another day in the life of a professional tennis player. There was no Roger Federer today. He has been the headliner at Halle since his first win in 2003. Federer won yesterday when his original opponent, Yen-Hsun Lu, withdrew and a Lucky Loser, Yuichi Sugita, filled in. (He wasn’t so lucky after the Maestro from Switzerland moved on to the next round, 6-3, 6-1, but at least he will have the memory of facing Federer, the eight time winner in Halle.) The first match of the Ladies Day extravaganza seemed as if it would offer a glimpse of two well-matched players, but alas, it was business as usual for Bernard Tomic, the Australian who has so much promise.
Today he tended to be on the nonchalant end of his wavering personality. Opposite him was thirty-one year old Richard Gasquet, who is one of the trio of French players who are either on the brink of or who have already turned thirty-one. (The other members of that trio are Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils. Gasquet defeated Monfils earlier this week, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.) The twenty-four year old Tomic has one of the most seesawing games in tennis today. One minute his shot-making skills are admirable, the next he seems sluggish and complacent. He has been on the hot seat more than once with his devil may care attitude. And judging from his father’s similar interface with the world in general, let alone tennis, chances are he will continue to ruffle feathers (or should that be fuzzy yellow tennis balls). Gasquet seemed not to notice the erratic nature of Tomic’s performance and merely played tennis. The Frenchman is very good at the game and even though most of today’s players tend to bang the ball from baseline to baseline, Gasquet, a right-hander, is fluid and classy on the court. He has a beautiful one-handed backhand that helps his game at just the right moments. His serve is a bit on the iffy side if speed is what one desires; but it works just fine, thank you. Tomic left the court much as he came – head down, shoulders carefully straightened and absolutely no eye contact with the crowd. Gasquet will move on to the next round.
Roberto Bautista Agut and Dustin Brown were next up on Center Court. Their match was a pleasure to watch, not because either one of them is the kind of smooth player that Gasquet has proven himself to be, but because it was tennis at its finest; both men playing every point to the very best of their ability. Brown is from Germany, and was given a wild card into the GWO. He is a fascinating person to observe. He has a full head of hair that surely reaches past his waist and is dread locked. I always wonder if there is so much hair that it hinders his movement, but, he and Bautista Agut gave all the ladies in attendance a wonderful match that was undecided until the last ball was struck. Bautista Agut got the win, with the score 6-4, 1-6, 7-6.
 There are usually four matches on Center Court, and next up was German Philipp Kohlschreiber, a former winner at the Gerry Weber Open. He had a bit of trouble with his opponent, Alexander Zverev, the twenty year-old German whiz kid who has taken the tennis world by storm and is now ranked No. 12, and that’s with a group of much more experienced players. He took away Kohlschreiber’s chances of duplicating his 2011 championship here. Alexander Zverev wasted not a stroke when he moved to the next round where he will face Bautista Agut.

The night matches begin at 5:30 p.m. Dominic Thiem and Robin Haase provided the londay of tennis with a dessert that should have pleased everyone. Haase is thirty and is from The Netherlands. He has spent the last seven seasons in the top 100. He just keeps working and working, and traveling to compete because he loves tennis. Today’s match gave him a hard fought win over a younger, more highly ranked player, Austrian, Dominic Thiem. The final score belied the closeness of the entire match, 6-3, 7-6. He will play Gasquet in his next endeavor that is sure to offer top-notch tennis.

 

All in all, it was a great day for tennis. The women enjoyed their special day in the sun and the beautiful venue. They will likely have plenty of “Did you see that?” moments thenext time they gather with their friends for tennis or coffee. It doesn’t have to be ladies day in Halle at the GWO because tennis is the only thing on the menu and everyone here surely agrees that is the way it’s served the best.

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New Setback Forces Dominic Thiem Out Of Belgrade

The Austrian tennis star has written a blog post on his website titled ‘my knee hurts!”

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Dominic’s Thiem’s return to the Tour has been postponed for a second time due to a physical problem which he recently visited a doctor about.

 

The US Open champion has confirmed that he is currently suffering from pain in his knee and has decided to pull out of next week’s Belgrade Open. An ATP 250 event which will be headlined by world No.1 Novak Djokovic. It is unclear as to what kind of injury Thiem is suffering from or when the pain started. Earlier this year he confirmed that he had been suffering from a long-standing foot issue which gives him intermittent pain. Although there is no indication that these are linked in anyway.

“2021 just doesn’t want to get going. Unfortunately I will have to cancel my start at next week’s tournament in Novak Djokovic’s hometown Belgrade,” Thiem wrote in a statement. “My knee hurts and I went to see a doctor. It is not a big issue but I need to take care of it. I am definitely not fit enough to play next week.”

Earlier this month Thiem delayed his expected return to the Tour at this week’s Monte Carlo Masters because he was ‘not 100% yet.’ In a blog post on his website the Austrian admitted that he had ‘a lot of work to do’ and ‘tough weeks’ ahead. Thiem hasn’t played a match since the Dubai Tennis Championships after deciding to take a break from the sport in order to reset himself.

The hope for the world No.4 is that he will be back on track and ready to play at the Madrid Open which will begin on April 30th with the ultimate goal remaining to be back to full fitness at the French Open. Thiem’s most successful Grand Slam where he has reached finals in 2018 and 2019.

“I want to be completely fit at the beginning of May and play proper tennis,” he states.
“There is something positive, though: Coach Nicolas Massu arrived in Austria yesterday, we are going to continue my program even though at the moment we have to be careful. In the meantime I have also been working on my physical fitness with sports scientist Mike Reinprecht.’
“There is no doubt, the big goal till the summer are the French Open – in Paris I must be at my best.”

So far this season Thiem has only won back-to-back matches in one out of four tournaments played. Doing so at the Australian Open where he reached the fourth round before losing to Grigor Dimitrov. Since then he has suffered second round losses in Doha and Dubai. His win-loss record for 2021 currently stands at 5-4.

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Steve John Slams ATP, French Open In Social Media Rant

The 31-year-old says there is a lack of transparency in the sport and has accused French Open organisers of being selfish.

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American tennis player Steve Johnson has said there is a lack of transparency among those running the governing body of men’s tennis in a series of posts published on social media.

 

The world No.85 has accused members of the ATP Board of putting their priorities ahead of others with there being conflicts of interest. Johnson argues that the current situation is ‘hurting the sport’ as he makes reference to two specific issues.

The first of those is the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells which was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organisers are instead hoping to stage the event later in the season in order to avoid it being cancelled for the second time in a row. Johnson has suggested that Indian Wells have been unable to stage their event whilst offering 100% of prize money due to opposition from other tournament directors who are on the ATP Board.

“Well, what type of system allows Masters 1000 events to pay 60% less when the BNP Paribas Open is trying to host their event at 100% but can’t get approval because other tournament directors are ATP Board members and they want to benefit from these reductions?” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
“The conflicts and lack of transparency are what hurts, not just the players but the sport.
“Everyone loves to throw around “it is about what is best for the sport,” but the actions don’t match the words.”

Johnson is not the first player to call for more transparency in the ATP. Earlier this year John Isner said there should be a clearer picture to show the reasons for the cut in prize money which has been attributed to the pandemic. This year’s prize money pool at the Miami Masters had a 60% cut with the winner claiming $300,110 compared to $1.35 million in 2019. The former world No.8 told reporters in Miami that he feels there needs to be an ‘audit’ of tournament finances by the ATP which he believes has been “plagued by conflict and lack of transparency.”

On the other side of the argument, Australia’s John Milman has hit back at Johnson’s comments about Indian Wells by describing them as ‘simply untrue.’ Saying that the tournament wanted to be held on one specific date.

“Mate they didn’t get approval initially because they weren’t flexible with when they wanted to have the event. Options were given with available weeks, they didn’t want any of them, wanted one specific week,” Millman said to Johnson on Twitter.
“Multiple tournaments were going to be disrupted with their spot that they had locked in for years.. to suggest that they aren’t getting approval because of board members wanting to benefit from prizemoney reductions (due to covid) is simply untrue.”

31-year-old Johnson, who has been ranked as high as 21st in the world, has also hit out at the French Open over their decision to postpone their event by seven days. Organisers hope the move will help maximise their chances of welcoming fans to the event with France currently being in a national lockdown.

“Roland Garros once again unilaterally decides to change the date of their event, disrupting the calendar to accommodate themselves without respect for the consequences and impact it has on the rest of tennis,” he commented.

The decision to delay the French Open did receive approval from the Grand Slam Board prior to an official announcement. As a consequence the grass-court swing has been shortened by a week.

Johnson has won four ATP titles during his career and has played in 32 Grand Slam main draws.

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Djokovic Showdown A ‘Good Test’ For Jannik Sinner In Monte Carlo

The 19-year-old shares his thoughts about playing the world No.1 for the first time in his career.

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MIAMI GARDENS, FL - MARCH 31: Jannik Sinner of Italy at the Miami Open held at the Hard Rock Stadium on March 31, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida (Photo by Peter Staples)

Rising star Jannik Sinner believes his upcoming clash with Novak Djokovic at the Monte Carlo Masters will help him establish what level he is currently playing at on the Tour.

 

The world No.22 booked a meeting with the 18-time Grand Slam champion after defeating Spain’s Albert Ramos 6-3, 6-4, in his first round match on Tuesday. Sinner comes into the tournament high in confidence after recently reaching his maiden Masters 1000 final in Miami which he lost to Poland’s Herbert Hurkacz. He is only the fourth teenager in history to reach the final of Miami.

The showdown against Djokovic is only the second time Sinner has faced a top 10 player this season after Daniil Medvedev, who is out of Monte Carlo after testing positive for COVID-19. Djokovic is making his return to the Tour this week after taking time off to train and be with his family. He last played at the Australian Open.

“I don’t think that’s important right now because I think he practiced until this time,” Sinner replied when asked if his recent run of match play gives him the upper hand. “Obviously I knew that he had pain in the abs, but I think he’s good now because he is playing the tournament.’
“I think he has prepared in a good way to be ready for Monte-Carlo.”

Tipped as a future world No.1 by some, the Italian has a mixed record when it comes to playing a member of the top 10. Out of his nine meetings, he has won three of them which all occurred last year. His wins were over David Goffin (10), Alexander Zverev (7) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (6). Two of those triumphs was on the clay.

“I think he (Djokovic) has more experience than me, obviously. (But) I don’t think that’s an advantage or not,” he said. “I played today one match which can give me a little bit the feeling back on the clay.’
“I’m looking forward to a great battle and trying to play my tennis.”

Regardless of what happens in his second round encounter, Sinner hopes he will be able to learn what areas of his game he needs to improve on in the coming months. He is currently trained by Riccardo Piatti who coincidently once worked with Djokovic.

It’s a good test for my side to see where I am, especially where I can improve. I know where I can improve, but this kind of match can give me a lot. I just try to go there with the right mentality like in every match and we will see what happens,” he concluded.

Should Sinner beat Djokovic he would become the youngest player to defeat a world No.1 player on the men’s Tour since Nick Kyrgios at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships.

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